A Complete Guide to Setting Up MSP Sales Process
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) play a critical role in helping companies manage their IT infrastructure and services efficiently. However, a staggering number of MSPs struggle to generate adequate sales for their businesses, with some sources indicating that around 50% of MSPs fail within the first few years. One of the main reasons for this failure is the lack of a well-structured MSP sales process. Once MSPs identify their service offerings and target audience, most of them make the costly mistake of winging it without a clear MSP sales process, leading to lost opportunities and stunted growth.
On the other hand, successful MSPs understand how essential it is to have a robust sales process in place. These forward-thinking MSPs not only identify their niche and value proposition but also invest in implementing a sales strategy that allows them to acquire new clients, foster long-lasting relationships, and, ultimately, grow their businesses. In this comprehensive MSP sales process guide, we will dive deep into the essential elements of an effective sales process for MSP, offering practical insights and actionable steps to help you overcome common challenges and set your MSP on the path to success.
So let’s dive right in!
What is an MSP sales process?
At its core, a sales process is a series of repeatable steps that a sales team takes to move a prospect from being an early-stage lead to a closed customer. This structured approach acts as a framework to allow sales representatives to close deals and forge strong client relationships consistently. From an MSP perspective, however, the sales process encompasses a set of critical steps that guide the sales team through each stage of the sales cycle, from identifying potential clients who may be unaware of their IT service needs to presenting tailored solutions and ultimately converting prospects into loyal customers.
Peter Drucker once said, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” And a well-defined MSP sales process ensures that you take the right actions at every stage to prevent deals from slipping through the cracks and maximize the chances of success.
An efficient MSP sales process not only serves as a roadmap for moving prospects through the sales cycle but also includes strategies for maintaining and nurturing client relationships, paving the way for future upsells and long-term business growth. By understanding and implementing a robust MSP sales process, providers can effectively navigate the competitive landscape and secure a prosperous future for their company.
Why is an MSP Sales Process Important?
An MSP sales process is vital to the success and growth of your business. It provides a clear roadmap for your sales team to follow, ensuring that your marketing efforts lead to tangible results.
Here are some key reasons why having a well-defined MSP sales process is crucial for your organization:
1. Enhanced organizational efficiency
An organized MSP sales process keeps your sales team aligned, which in return, prevents disjointed efforts and confusion. When you have a consistent MSP sale process guide, your team members will have clear objectives, allowing them to focus on the most critical tasks. With this enhanced efficiency, onboarding new salespeople becomes easier, as they can quickly learn the ropes and integrate themselves into your already established system.
2. Fostering accountability and performance evaluation
With a well-structured MSP sales process in place, you can hold your sales team accountable for their performance. This process helps you monitor their adherence to the established guidelines, pinpoint areas that require improvement, and facilitate targeted coaching and training sessions. Ultimately, this leads to a more competent and productive sales force.
3. Establishing a baseline for improvement and growth
An MSP sales process helps you establish benchmarks for crucial metrics, such as conversion rates and sales cycle durations. These benchmarks become the foundation for future improvements and allow you to assess the effectiveness of your sales strategies. By comparing your current performance against this baseline, you can make informed decisions about allocating resources and adjusting your tactics to drive growth.
4. Streamlining the sales funnel by identifying bottlenecks
A thorough MSP sales process enables you to detect blockages and inefficiencies in your sales funnel effectively. By regularly reviewing your sales metrics and examining the flow of prospects through the funnel, you can optimize your process, remove barriers, and ensure that your sales team focuses on the most promising opportunities.
5. Accelerating onboarding and best practice adoption
An MSP sales process also serves as a knowledge base for your sales team, especially for those who are new or less experienced. It allows them to grasp best practices quickly, understand expectations at each stage of the sales cycle, and become more effective representatives of your business. This accelerates their learning curve and enables them to contribute to your organization's growth sooner.
6. Boosting revenue and profitability through a structured approach
When you provide your sales team with a structured MSP sales process, you empower them to close deals more efficiently and drive revenue growth. As they follow the process, they will become more adept at identifying opportunities, addressing client concerns, and offering tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of each prospect. And the more clients they convert, the more revenue and profitability they generate for your MSP business.
What are the Key Steps in an MSP Sales Process?
The key to growing your Managed Services Provider (MSP) business lies in mastering the sales process. This journey, from generating high-quality leads to closing deals and managing client relationships, determines how successful an MSP is going to be.
In this section, we'll dive into the eight essential steps of the MSP sales process to help you optimize your sales funnel, boost your revenue, and build lasting relationships with your clients.
1. Marketing and Lead Generation
As an MSP, your sales process should always start with marketing and lead generation. You need top-notch leads for your sales team to work their magic. Aligning both sales and marketing is essential for your MSP's growth. Sales can provide marketing with valuable insights from their conversations with prospects, like common questions or pain points. Marketing can then create content around these topics to attract and nurture leads. In return, marketing can help sales by generating targeted content and collateral to engage prospects and move them down the sales funnel.
Moreover, marketing is quite essential considering the fact that a majority of companies don’t even realize that they need managed services until they are educated about it. So, when marketing and sales are aligned, the quality of leads you get will be way better.
If your marketing team successfully does its part, you’ll start receiving a bunch of promising leads. In the discovery stage, you need to take some time out and dig a little deeper and get to know them better. It’s quite like speed dating but for businesses. In this step, you need to ask questions, gather background info, and build a profile of each lead's IT environment to identify their biggest IT frustrations and learn what's holding them back. This is also a great time to figure out who the key decision-makers are and how much effort it'll take to win their business. For example, if you’re talking to an employee (who doesn’t have a considerable amount of influence), then you might not want to spend as much time on them as you would on the founders and managers of the company.
You should also consider the Cost per Lead (CPL) and budget your time accordingly. You need to keep asking yourself if someone requires more work than they're worth. And after analyzing the details, we move to the next step — Qualification.
Now that you've learned more about your prospects, it's time to qualify them. You need to determine if the client is a good fit for your MSP services and if they're genuinely interested in doing business with you. Qualifying the leads is one of the most essential parts of an MSP sales process. It helps you focus your efforts on the most promising leads and avoid wasting time on those that won't bring value to your MSP.
As an MSP, you should evaluate prospects based on various factors such as their IT needs, budget, size, and industry. These criteria will help you identify the ones most likely to benefit from your services, leading to long-term and profitable relationships. For example, let's say you specialize in providing IT services for small to medium-sized healthcare organizations. A prospect that qualifies for your services could be a growing dental clinic chain needing HIPAA-compliant data management solutions, a reliable backup system, and 24/7 network monitoring to ensure the privacy and security of their patient's information.
On the other hand, a prospect that might not qualify for your services could be a large enterprise in the manufacturing sector with an extensive in-house IT department seeking highly specialized solutions that fall outside your area of expertise. In this case, pursuing such a prospect would not be a wise use of your resources, as your services may not align with their specific needs. When you qualify your leads, you better allocate your sales efforts, which ensures you're engaging with potential clients who are an ideal match for your MSP services. This approach will ultimately lead to more successful sales conversions and a stronger customer base.
4. Presentation and Proposal
By now, you've had a few conversations with your prospects and built a solid rapport. They trust you and are interested in learning more about your MSP services. At the same time, you've qualified them and know you have the right solutions to help them reach their goals. Before you jump into your presentation, make sure you've done a thorough assessment of their IT environment. Once you've gathered the necessary information about their IT infrastructure and pain points, tailor your presentation and proposal to resonate with each decision-maker, focusing on the business value of your services. Remember, sell the benefits, not the features.
For example, instead of listing the technical specifications of your backup and disaster recovery solution, emphasize how it will minimize downtime, protect critical data, and ensure business continuity during a disruption. This approach will help your prospects understand how your MSP services can directly address their challenges and contribute to their success.
With a platform like Zomentum, this stage becomes quite easy for you to manage because it offers features like Contracts, Quotations, and Proposals, which streamline the process of crafting proposals for your prospects. With Zomentum's customizable and interactive templates, you can turn around quick proposals and quotes that convert.
5. Addressing Objections
During your presentation, your prospects may raise objections or concerns. It's essential to address these objections professionally and effectively. You should show empathy, listen carefully to their concerns, and provide well-reasoned responses.
In this step, demonstrating your expertise and understanding of their unique needs will help you build trust and credibility with your prospects.
You're almost there! Now it's time to iron out the details and work through any hesitations your prospects might have. Be open to resolving any concerns they have and follow up promptly with any additional information they request. It's crucial to stay on top of the proposal and ensure it doesn't go unanswered for too long.
Congratulations! You've successfully secured a new client. But hold on; the work doesn't stop here. After closing the deal, it's essential to evaluate the new client experience and ensure your onboarding process is smooth and efficient.
8. Onboarding and Account Management
This is when training your employees to be account managers can make a huge difference. Keep nurturing your relationship with your clients, be their trusted IT advisor, and hold regular reviews and check-ins. By doing so, you'll not only retain their business but also open up opportunities for cross-selling and upselling down the road.
These were all the steps of an MSP sales process. And now that you have a clear understanding of this, let’s talk about how you can create one from scratch!
How to Create a Sales Process for your MSP?
Every MSP is unique based on the services they provide, their target audience, the vendors they work with, and the structure of their team. And it’s essential for them to create a tailored sales process that reflects your specific needs and goals.
Here are some crucial steps to follow when building the sales process for your MSP:
1. Identify Your Target Audience and Ideal Customer Persona
Gaining a comprehensive understanding of your target audience is essential for your MSP's success, as it allows you to tailor your services, messaging, and sales approach to resonate with your ideal clients.
A well-defined target audience helps you:
- Allocate resources efficiently: By focusing on a specific target audience, you can allocate your marketing and sales resources more effectively, ensuring that your efforts are concentrated on the prospects most likely to benefit from your services and become long-term clients.
- Develop specialized expertise: Targeting a particular industry or customer profile allows you to build specialized expertise, enhancing your reputation as an expert in that domain.
- Communicate value more effectively: Understanding your target audience's pain points, priorities, and preferences enables you to craft messaging that speaks directly to their needs.
- Streamline the sales process: A clear target audience helps you qualify leads more effectively, ensuring that you focus on the prospects with the highest potential for conversion.
To create an ideal customer persona, consider factors such as:
- Company size: Are you targeting small businesses or larger enterprises?
- Industry: Do you specialize in serving specific industries like healthcare, finance, or manufacturing?
- Location: Are you focusing on a particular geographical area, or do you offer services nationwide or even globally?
- Pain points: What are the common challenges your target audience faces that your MSP can solve?
This persona will guide your marketing, sales, and service delivery efforts, ensuring that you consistently attract, engage, and retain clients who are an ideal fit for your MSP.
2. Identify the Services Your MSP Wants to Provide
Your service offerings and vendor partnerships will shape your sales process. Determine which services you want to focus on, such as:
- Managed IT services
- Cloud management
- Network security
- Data backup and recovery
- Remote monitoring and management
Consider the vendors you'll work with to deliver these services, as this will influence your sales process and the type of clients you'll attract.
3. Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your USP is what sets you apart from other providers and gives you an edge in winning clients, especially in a competitive MSP market.
Some examples of USPs include:
- Expertise in a specific industry: Showcasing your in-depth knowledge of an industry will make you a more attractive choice for businesses in that sector.
- Unique service offerings: Offer services that other MSPs don't, or provide them in a way that adds more value to your clients.
- Exceptional customer service: Provide personalized support and a high level of responsiveness to client needs, making your MSP a trusted partner.
4. Understand the MSP Sales Funnel
The sales funnel represents the journey a prospect takes from initial awareness to becoming a customer. It typically consists of several stages, such as awareness, interest, consideration, decision, and action.
Having a solid understanding of your sales funnel will help you align your sales process with the prospect's journey and increase the chances of closing deals.
Read our Complete Guide on MSP Sales Funnel to get an in-depth understanding!
5. Identify Your Audience Touch Points at Each Stage of the Funnel
At each stage of the sales funnel, you'll interact with prospects differently. Identify these touchpoints and create a consistent approach tailored to your target audience. Some examples of touchpoints include:
- Cold outreach (awareness stage)
- Content marketing (interest stage)
- Webinars or product demos (consideration stage)
- Sales presentations (decision stage)
- Follow-ups and negotiations (action stage)
6. Document the Process
Documenting your sales process ensures consistency across your sales team and serves as a guide for onboarding new team members. Outline every step, from lead generation to follow-ups and closing the deal. Include details like:
- How to qualify leads
- Key questions to ask during discovery calls
- How to handle objections
- Proposal and contract templates
7. Create Templates for Sales Proposals
All MSPs must have well-crafted sales proposal templates, and there are quite a few reasons for that. First, templates save time and ensure consistency, allowing your sales team to focus on building relationships with prospects instead of spending hours creating proposals from scratch. Additionally, having a professional and polished proposal can help you stand out from the competition and demonstrate your expertise and commitment to quality. Moreover, pre-built templates allow your sales team to quickly and easily customize proposals for each prospect. This means they can spend more time on high-impact activities like nurturing leads and closing deals.
Zomentum for Partners can play a vital role in helping MSPs create and manage their sales proposal templates. With Zomentum, you can easily develop customizable and interactive templates for sales proposals, contracts, and quotations.
Some of the benefits of using Zomentum for your proposal templates include:
- Speed: The intuitive interface of Zomentum for Partners allows you to create winning documents quickly, giving you more time to focus on other crucial aspects of your sales process.
- Personalization: Zomentum offers a range of interactive and customizable templates, making it simple to tailor your proposals to each prospect's unique requirements.
- Collaboration: It also allows you to collaborate with your team and SaaS vendors, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal.
By investing in sales proposal templates and leveraging a tool like Zomentum, you can make your MSP’s sales process more efficient, allowing you to close deals faster while maintaining a professional image.
8. Identify where your efforts are going to waste
With the competitive landscape and the wide range of IT services being offered, it's vital for MSPs to focus on the activities that deliver the best results. By identifying and eliminating waste, you can ensure your sales efforts are as efficient and effective as possible. From an MSP's perspective, eliminating waste involves evaluating your sales process and pinpointing those activities that aren't contributing to your goals. This could include time-consuming tasks that yield minimal returns or redundant steps that slow down your sales team's progress. For example, your MSP might be spending too much time on cold-calling prospects who aren't a good fit for your services, or maybe you're devoting excessive resources to chasing after leads that never convert.
In both cases, eliminating these wasteful activities allows you to redirect your sales team's energy toward more productive tasks, such as nurturing relationships with high-potential leads or focusing on upselling existing clients.
9. Take a Relationship-Led Approach
As an MSP, you're not just providing IT solutions. You're also becoming a trusted partner who helps your clients navigate the ever-evolving world of technology. Clients want to know that they can rely on your expertise, responsiveness, and dedication to their success. To establish and maintain such connections, encourage your sales team to adopt a relationship-led approach. A relationship-led approach means going beyond just offering technical solutions. It's about understanding each client's unique needs and challenges and being proactive in identifying opportunities for their growth. This approach is particularly essential for MSPs since clients often require ongoing support and services, making long-term partnerships essential.
For example, let’s say you’re working with a small business that has been experiencing slow network performance. Instead of simply suggesting a network upgrade, you can take the time to understand the client's business goals, their budget constraints, and how technology impacts their daily operations.
By taking this approach, you can propose a tailored solution that not only addresses the immediate issue but also supports the client's long-term objectives.
10. Get an All-in-One Solution to Manage Your Sales Process
Even with a well-documented sales process, things can slip through the cracks if managed manually. Manual processes are prone to human error, inconsistent execution, and a lack of visibility into performance metrics. By automating your MSP sales process, you can not only streamline operations but also allow your sales team to focus on building relationships and closing deals rather than getting bogged down with administrative tasks. You can invest in an all-in-one solution like Zomentum to manage your sales process efficiently. It offers comprehensive features designed to help MSPs manage and automate various aspects of their sales process.
From streamlining the creation of sales documents with customizable templates to automating tasks like lead nurturing, follow-ups, and pipeline management, Zomentum for Partners helps your sales team stay organized and focused on closing deals.
Keep improving and optimizing your MSP sales process with the right tools
Creating a successful MSP sales process requires a targeted approach, a clear understanding of your target audience, and constant improvement based on your performance at each stage. As you evaluate your sales process, look for opportunities to optimize and refine your strategies to drive better results.
With tools like Zomentum, MSPs can monitor their entire sales process in one place, making it easier to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions. With features designed specifically for MSPs, Zomentum provides valuable insights and automates key tasks, enabling you to optimize your sales process for peak performance.
Ready to take your MSP sales process to the next level? Book a demo of Zomentum for Partners today!